|Publication number||US7369671 B2|
|Application number||US 10/244,295|
|Publication date||May 6, 2008|
|Filing date||Sep 16, 2002|
|Priority date||Sep 16, 2002|
|Also published as||CA2439329A1, EP1398995A2, EP1398995A3, EP1398995B1, US8218804, US8433088, US8971559, US20040052392, US20070121975, US20080013769, US20080199030, US20130315423|
|Publication number||10244295, 244295, US 7369671 B2, US 7369671B2, US-B2-7369671, US7369671 B2, US7369671B2|
|Inventors||Mike K. Sacha, Mark A. Bren, Timothy S. Peterson, Randall W. Roberts|
|Original Assignee||Starkey, Laboratories, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (93), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (12), Classifications (16), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is generally related to U.S. application Ser. No. 09/659,214, filed Sep. 11, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,760,457, and titled AUTOMATIC SWITCH FOR HEARTNG AID, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The present application is generally related to U.S. application Ser. No. 10/243,412, filed Sep. 12, 2002, and titled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SELECTIVELY COUPLING HEARING AIDS TO ELECTROMAGNETIC SIGNALS, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
This invention relates generally to hearing aids, and more particularly to switching structures and systems for a hearing aid.
Hearing aids can provide adjustable operational modes or characteristics that improve the performance of the hearing aid for a specific person or in a specific environment. Some of the operational characteristics are volume control, tone control, and selective signal input. One way to control these characteristics is by a manually engagable switch on the hearing aid. The hearing aid may include both a non-directional microphone and a directional microphone in a single hearing aid. Thus, when a person is talking to someone in a crowded room the hearing aid can be switched to the directional microphone in an attempt to directionally focus the reception of the hearing aid and prevent amplification of unwanted sounds from the surrounding environment. However, a conventional switch on the hearing aid is a switch that must be operated by hand. It can be a drawback to require manual or mechanical operation of a switch to change the input or operational characteristics of a hearing aid. Moreover, manually engaging a switch in a hearing aid that is mounted within the ear canal is difficult, and may be impossible, for people with impaired finger dexterity.
In some known hearing aids, magnetically activated switches are controlled through the use of magnetic actuators. For examples, see U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,553,152 and 5,659,621. The magnetic actuator is held adjacent the hearing aid and the magnetic switch changes the volume. However, such a hearing aid requires that a person have the magnetic actuator available when it desired to change the volume. Consequently, a person must carry an additional piece of equipment to control his/her hearing aid. Moreover, there are instances where a person may not have the magnetic actuator immediately present, for example, when in the yard or around the house.
Once the actuator is located and placed adjacent the hearing aid, this type of circuitry for changing the volume must cycle through the volume to arrive at the desired setting. Such an action takes time and adequate time may not be available to cycle through the settings to arrive at the required setting, for example, there may be insufficient time to arrive at the required volume when answering a telephone.
Some hearing aids have an input which receives the electromagnetic voice signal directly from the voice coil of a telephone instead of receiving the acoustic signal emanating from the telephone speaker. Accordingly, signal conversion steps, namely, from electromagnetic to acoustic and acoustic back to electromagnetic, are removed and a higher quality voice signal reproduction may be transmitted to the person wearing the hearing aid. It may be desirable to quickly switch the hearing aid from a microphone (acoustic) input to a coil (electromagnetic field) input when answering and talking on a telephone. However, quickly manually switching the input of the hearing aid from a microphone to a voice coil, by a manual mechanical switch or by a magnetic actuator, may be difficult for some hearing aid wearers.
Upon reading and understanding the present disclosure it is recognized that the inventive subject matter described herein satisfies the foregoing needs in the art and several other needs in the art not expressly noted herein. The following summary is provided to give the reader a brief summary which is not intended to be exhaustive or limiting and the scope of the invention is provided by the attached claims and the equivalents thereof.
One embodiment of the present invention provides a hearing aid that includes an input system, an output system, a signal processing circuit electrically connecting the input system to the output system, a magnetically actuatable switch between the input system and the signal processing circuit, and a filter connected to and controlled by the magnetically-actuatable switch. The switch allows the filter to filter a signal from the input system to the signal processing circuit or prevents the filter from filtering the signal. In an embodiment, the switch is a solid state switch. In an embodiment, the solid state switch is a giant magneto resistive (GMR) switch. In an embodiment, the solid state switch is an anisotropic magneto resistive (AMR) switch. In an embodiment, the solid state switch is a magnetic field effect transistor.
In an embodiment of the present invention, a magnetically actuatable switch is positioned between the output system and the signal processing circuit. This switch controls operation of a device before the output system or at the output system. In an embodiment, the switch selectively connects an output filter that filters the signal received by the output system. In an embodiment, the hearing aid includes a plurality of filters that are selectable based on the magnetic field sensed by the magnet switch or a magnetic field sensor.
An embodiment of the present invention provides a hearing aid that includes an input system, an output system, a programmable, signal processing circuit electrically connecting the input system to the output system, a magnetic field sensor, and a selection circuit connected to the magnetic sensor and at least one of the input system, output system and the signal processing system. The selection circuit is adapted to control the at least one of the input system, output system and the signal processing system based on a signal produced by the magnetic field sensor. The selection circuit is adapted to receive an electrical signal from the magnetic sensor and supply a programming signal to the signal processing circuit. In an embodiment, the magnetic field sensor is a full bridge circuit. In an embodiment, the magnetic field sensor is adapted to receive a pulsed power supply. In an embodiment, the selection circuit is connected to the input system and sends a control signal to the input system based on a signal received from the magnetic field sensor. In an embodiment, the input system includes a first input and a second input, and the input system activates one of the first input and the second input based on the control signal. The first input includes a microphone. The second input includes a magnetic field sensing device. The hearing aid of the present invention further includes a threshold circuit that blocks signals below a threshold value.
An embodiment of the present invention provides a hearing aid that includes a programming system that is adapted to sense a magnetic field and based on the magnetic field produce a programming signal. The programming signal, in an embodiment, includes a control sequence or code that allows the hearing aid to be programmed. The programming signal further includes a digital programming signal based on the magnetic field sensed by a magnetic field sensor.
An embodiment of the present invention includes a wireless on/off switch. The wireless on/off switch includes a magnetically operable switch. In an embodiment, the magnetically operable switch is a solid state switch. The on/off switch turns off the non-essential power to the hearing aid circuits to preserve battery power. In an embodiment, a system is provided that stores the hearing aid and provides a signal to turn off the hearing aid.
An embodiment of the invention includes a wireless switch that activates a power induction circuit in the hearing aid. The power induction circuit is adapted to receive a recharging signal from a power source and recharge the hearing aid power source. In an embodiment, the wireless switch that activates the power induction circuit also turns off the non-essential power consuming circuits of the hearing aid.
An embodiment of the invention includes a system that has a magnetic field source. In an embodiment, the magnetic field source being adapted to program the hearing aid. In an embodiment, the magnetic field source is adapted to wirelessly turn off and turn on the hearing aid. The system includes a storage receptacle for the hearing aid. In an embodiment, the magnetic field source provides a power induction signal that is adapted to recharge the hearing aid power source.
Further embodiments of the present invention will be understood from reading the present disclosure.
A more complete understanding of the invention and its various features, objects and advantages may be obtained from a consideration of the following detailed description, the appended claims, and the attached drawings in which:
In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention can be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice and use the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that electrical, logical, and structural changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.
Hearing aids provide different hearing assistance functions including, but not limited to, directional and non-directional inputs, multi-source inputs, filtering and multiple output settings. Hearing aids are also provide user specific and/or left or right ear specific functions such as frequency response, volume, varying inputs and signal processing. Accordingly, a hearing aid is programmable with respect to these functions or switch between functions based on the operating environment and the user's hearing assistance needs. A hearing aid is described that includes magnetically operated switches and programming structures.
Hearing aid 10 has two inputs, a microphone 31 and a voice coil pickup 32 (
A switching circuit 40 is provided to switch the hearing aid input from the microphone 31, the default state, to the voice coil pickup 32, the magnetic field sensing state. It is desired to automatically switch the states of the hearing aid 10 when the telephone handset 14 is adjacent the hearing aid wearer's ear. Thereby, the need for the wearer to manually switch the input state of the hearing aid when answering a telephone call and after the call is ends. Finding and changing the state of the switch on a miniaturized hearing aid can be difficult especially when the wearer is under the time constraints of a ringing telephone or if the hearing aid is an in the ear type hearing aid.
The switching circuit 40 of the described embodiment changes state when in the presence of the telephone handset magnet 22, which produces a constant magnetic field that switches the hearing aid input from the microphone 31 to the voice coil pickup 32. As shown in
In this default open state of switch 55, switches 51 and 52 are conducting. Therefore, switch 51 completes the circuit connecting microphone 31 to the signal processing circuit 34. Switch 52 connects resistor 59 to ground and draws the voltage away from the base of switch 53 so that switch 53 is open and not conducting. Accordingly, hearing aid 10 is operating with microphone 31 active and the voice coil pickup 32 inactive.
Switch 55 is closed in the presence of a magnetic field, particularly in the presence of the magnetic field produced by telephone handset magnet 22. In one embodiment of the invention, switch 55 is a reed switch, for example a microminiature reed switch, type HSR-003 manufactured by Hermetic Switch, Inc. of Chickasha, Okla. In a further embodiment of the invention, the switch 55 is a solid state, wirelessly operable switch. In an embodiment, wirelessly refers to a magnetic signal. An embodiment of a magnetic signal operable switch is a MAGFET. The MAGFET is non-conducting in a magnetic field that is not strong enough to turn on the device and is conducting in a magnetic field of sufficient strength to turn on the MAGFET. In a further embodiment, switch 55 is a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) switch. In a further embodiment, the switch 55 is a magneto resistive device that has a large resistance in the absence of a magnetic field and has a very small resistance in the presence of a magnetic field. When the telephone handset magnet 22 is close enough to the hearing aid wearer's ear, the magnetic field produced by magnet 22 changes the state of switch (e.g., closes) switch 55. Consequently, the base of switch 51 and the base of switch 52 are now grounded. Switches 51 and 52 stop conducting and microphone ground is no longer grounded. That is, the microphone circuit is open. Now switch 52 no longer draws the current away from the base of switch 53 and same is energized by the hearing aid voltage source through resistor 59. Switch 53 is now conducting. Switch 53 connects the voice pickup coil ground to ground and completes the circuit including the voice coil pickup 32 and signal processing circuit 34. Accordingly, the switching circuit 40 activates either the microphone (default) input 31 or the voice coil (magnetic field selected) input 32 but not both inputs simultaneously.
In operation, switch 55 automatically closes and conducts when it is in the presence of the magnetic field produced by telephone handset magnet 22. This eliminates the need for the hearing aid wearer to find the switch, manually change switch state, and then answer the telephone. The wearer can conveniently, merely pickup the telephone handset and place it by his\her ear whereby hearing aid 10 automatically switches from receiving microphone (acoustic) input to receiving pickup coil (electromagnetic) input. That is, a static electromagnetic field causes the hearing aid to switch from an audio input to a time-varying electromagnetic field input. Additionally, hearing aid 10 automatically switches back to microphone input after the telephone handset 14 is removed from the ear. This is not only advantageous when the telephone conversation is complete but also when the wearer needs to talk with someone present (microphone input) and then return to talk with the person on the phone (voice coil input).
The above described embodiment of the switching circuit 40 describes a circuit that grounds an input and open circuits the other inputs. It will be recognized that the switching circuit 40, in an embodiment, connects the power source to an input and disconnects the power source to the other inputs. For example, the collectors of the transistors 51 and 53 are connected to the power source. The switch 55 remains connected to ground. The emitter of transistor 51 is connected to the power input of the microphone 31. The emitter of the transistor 53 is connected to the power input of the voice coil 32. Thus, switching the switch 55 causes the power source to be interrupted to the microphone and supplied to the voice coil pickup32. In an embodiment, switching circuit 40 electrically connects the signal from one input to the processing circuit 34 and opens (disconnects) the other inputs from the processing circuit 34.
While the disclosed embodiment references an in-the-ear hearing aid, it will be recognized that the inventive features of the present invention are adaptable to other styles of hearing aids including over-the-ear, behind-the-ear, eye glass mount, implants, body worn aids, etc. Due to the miniaturization of hearing aids, the present invention is advantageous to many miniaturized hearing aids.
In use with a telephone handset, e.g., 14 shown in
In an embodiment, switching circuit 40 includes a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) switch. The MEMS switch includes a cantilevered arm that in a first position completes an electrical connection and in a second position opens the electrical connection. When used in the circuit as shown in
In an embodiment, the signal from the selection circuit 118 controls operation of a programming circuit 120. Programming circuit 120 provides hearing aid programmable settings to the signal processing circuit 122. In an embodiment, the magnetic sensor 115 and the selection circuit 118 produce a digital programming signal that is received by the programming circuit 120. Hearing aid 110 is programmed to an individual's specific hearing assistance needs by providing programmable settings or parameters to the hearing aid. Programmable settings or parameters in hearing aids include, but are not limited to, at least one of stored program selection, frequency response, volume, gain, filtering, limiting, and attenuation. The programming circuit 120 programs the programmable parameters for the signal processing circuit 122 of the hearing aid 110 in response to the programming signal received from the magnetic sensor 115 and sent to the programming circuit 120 through selection circuit 118.
In an embodiment, the signal from selection circuit 118 directly controls operation of the signal processing circuit 122. The signal received by the processing circuit 122 controls at least one of the programmable parameters. Thus, while the signal is sent by the magnetic sensor 115 and the selection circuit 118, the programmable parameter of the signal processing circuit 122 is altered from its programmed setting based on the signal sensed by the magnetic field sensor 115 and sent to the signal processing circuit 122 by the selection circuit 118. It will be appreciated that the programmed setting is a factory default setting or a setting programmed for an individual. In an embodiment, the alteration of the hearing aid settings occurs only while the magnetic sensor 115 senses the magnetic field. The hearing aid 110 returns to its programmed settings after the magnetic sensor 115 no longer senses the magnetic field.
In an embodiment, the signal from selection circuit 118 directly controls operation of the output processing circuit 124. The output processing circuit 124 receives the processed signal, which represents a conditioned audio signal to be broadcast into a hearing aid wearer's ear, from the signal processing circuit 122 and outputs a signal to the output 128. The output 128 includes a speaker that broadcasts an audio signal into the user's ear. Output processing circuit 124 includes filters for limiting the frequency range of the signal broadcast from the output 128. The output processing circuit 124 further includes an amplifier for amplifying the signal between the signal processing circuit 122 and the output. Amplifying the signal at the output allows signal processing to be performed at a lower power. The selection circuit 118 sends a control signal to the output processing circuit 124 to control the operation of at least one of the amplifying or the filtering of the output processing circuit 124. In an embodiment, the output processing circuit 124 returns to its programmed state after the magnetic sensor 115 no longer senses a magnetic field.
In an embodiment, the signal from the selection circuit 118 controls operation of the input circuit 126 to control which input is used. For example, the input circuit 126 includes a plurality of inputs, e.g., an audio microphone and a magnetic field input or includes two audio inputs. In an embodiment, the input circuit 126 includes an omnidirectional microphone and a directional microphone. The signal from the selection circuit 118 controls which of these inputs of the input circuit 126 is selected. The selected input sends a sensed input signal, which represents an audio signal to be presented to the hearing aid wearer, to the signal processing circuit 122. In a further example, the input circuit 126 includes a filter circuit that is activated and/or selected by the signal produced by the selection circuit 118.
The magnetic sensor 115, in either the full bridge 140 or half bridge 150, includes a wireless signal responsive, solid state device. The solid state sensor 115, in an embodiment, includes a giant magnetoresistivity (GMR) device, which relies on the changing resistance of materials in the presence of a magnetic field. One such GMR sensor is marketed by NVE Corp. of Eden Prairie, Minn. under part no. AA002-02. In one embodiment of a GMR device, a plurality of layers are formed on a substrate or wafer to form an integrated circuit device. Integrated circuit devices are desirable in hearing aids due to their small size and low power consumption. A first layer has a fixed direction of magnetization. A second layer has a variable direction of magnetization that depends on the magnetic field in which it is immersed. A nonmagnetic, conductive layer separates the first and second magnetic layers. When the direction of magnetization of the first and second layers are the same, the resistance across the GMR device layer is low. When the direction of magnetization of the second layer is at an angle with respect to the first layer, then the resistance across in the layers increases. Typically, the maximum resistance is achieved when the direction of magnetization are at an angle of about 180 degrees. Such GMR devices are manufactured using VLSI fabrication techniques. This results in magnetic field sensors having a small size, which is also desirable in hearing aids. In an embodiment, a GMR sensor of the present invention has an area of about 130 mil by 17 mil. It will be appreciated that smaller GMR sensors are desirable for use in hearing aids if they have the required sensitivity and bandwidth. Further, some hearing aids are manufactured on a ceramic substrate that will form a base layer on which a GMR sensor is fabricated. GMR sensors have a low sensitivity and thus must be in a strong magnetic field to sense changes in the magnetic field. Further, magnetic field strength depends on the cube of the distance from the source. Accordingly, when the GMR sensor is used to program a hearing aid, the magnetic field source 142 must be close to the GMR sensor. As a example, a programming coil of the source 142 is positioned about 0.5 cm from the GMR sensor to provide a strong magnetic field to be sensed by the magnetic field sensor 115.
When the GMR sensor is used in the hearing aid circuits described herein, the GMR sensor acts as a switch when it senses a magnetic field having at least a minimum strength. The GMR sensor is adapted to provide various switching functions. The GMR sensor acts as a telecoil switch when it is placed in the DC magnetic field of a telephone handset in a first function. The GMR sensor acts as a filter-selecting switch that electrically activates or electrically removes a filter from the signal processing circuits of a hearing aid in an embodiment. The GMR sensor acts to switch the hearing aid input in an embodiment. For example, the hearing aid switches between acoustic input and magnetic field input. As a further example, the hearing aid switches between omni-directional input and directional input. In an embodiment, the GMR sensor acts to automatically turn the power off when a magnetic field of sufficient strength changes the state, i.e., increases the resistance, of the GMR sensor.
The GMR sensor is adapted to be used in a hearing aid to provide a programming signal. The GMR sensor has a bandwidth of at least 1 MHz. Accordingly, the GMR sensor has a high data rate that is used to program the hearing aid during manufacture. The programming signal is a digital signal produced by the state of the GMR sensor when an alternating or changing magnetic field is applied to the GMR sensor. For example, the magnetic field alternates about a threshold field strength. The GMR sensor changes its resistance based on the magnetic field. The hearing aid circuit senses the change in resistance and produces a digital (high or low) signal based on the GMR sensor resistance. In a further embodiment, the GMR sensor is a switch that activates a programming circuit in the hearing aid. The programming circuit in an embodiment receives audio signals that program the hearing aid. In an embodiment, the audio programming signal is broadcast through a telephone network to the hearing aid. Thus, the hearing aid is remotely programmed over a telephone network using audio signals by non-manually switching the hearing aid to a programming mode. In an embodiment, the hearing aid receives a variable magnetic signal that programs the hearing aid. In an embodiment, the telephone handset produces the magnetic signal. The continuous magnetic signal causes the hearing aid to switch on the programming circuit. The magnetic field will remain above a programming threshold. The magnetic field varies above the programming threshold to produce the programming signal that is sensed by the magnetic sensor and programs the hearing aid. In a further embodiment, a hearing aid programmer is the source of the programming signal.
The solid state sensor 115, in an embodiment, is an anisotropic magneto resistivity (AMR) device. An AMR device includes a material that changes its electrical conductivity based on the magnetic field sensed by the device. An example of an AMR device includes a layer of ferrite magnetic material. An example of an AMR device includes a crystalline material layer. In an embodiment, the crystalline layer is an orthorhombic compound. The orthorhombic compound includes RCu2 where R=a rare earth element). Other types of anisotropic materials include anisotropic strontium and anisotropic barium. The AMR device is adapted to act as a hearing aid switch as described herein. That is, the AMR device changes its conductivity based on a sensed magnetic field to switch on or off elements or circuits in the hearing aid. The AMR device, in an embodiment, is adapted to act as a hearing aid programming device as described herein. The AMR device senses the change in the state of the magnetic field to produce a digital programming signal in the hearing aid.
The solid state sensor 115, in an embodiment, is a spin dependent tunneling (SDT) device. Spin dependent tunneling (SDT) structures include an extremely thin insulating layer separating two magnetic layers. The conduction is due to quantum tunneling through the insulator. The size of the tunneling current between the two magnetic layers is modulated by the magnetization directions in the magnetic layers. The conduction path must be perpendicular to the plane of a GMR material layer since there is such a large difference between the conductivity of the tunneling path and that of any path in the plane. Extremely small SDT devices with high resistance are fabricated using photolithography allowing very dense packing of magnetic sensors in small areas. The saturation fields depend upon the composition of the magnetic layers and the method of achieving parallel and antiparallel alignment. Values of a saturation field range from 0.1 to 10 kA/m (1 to 100 Oe) offering the possibility of extremely sensitive magnetic sensors with very high resistance suitable for use with battery powered devices such as hearing aids. The SDT device is adapted to be used as a hearing aid switch as described herein. The SDT device is further adapted to provide a hearing aid programming signals as described herein.
Hearing aids are powered by batteries. In an embodiment, the battery provides about 1.25 Volts. A magnetic sensor, e.g., bridges 140 or 150, sets the resistors at 5K ohms, with the variable resistors R1, R2 or R7, R8 varying from the 5K ohm dependent on the magnetic field. In this embodiment, the magnetic sensor 140 or 150 would continuously draw about 250 μA. It is desirable to limit the power draw from the battery to prolong the battery life. One construction for limiting the power drawn by the sensor 140 or 150 is to pulse the supply voltage Vs.
The switching stage 201 includes filters to remove the high frequency component of the signal from the induction sensor. The positive and negative output nodes of the full bridge 192 are each connected to a filter 198, 199. Each filter 198, 199 includes a large resistor (1M ohm) and a large capacitor (1 μf). The filters 198, 199 act to block false triggering of the on/off switch component 200 of the circuit 190. The signals that pass filters 198, 199 are fed through a series of amplifiers to determine whether an electromagnetic field is present to switch the state of the hearing aid. An output 205 is the on/off signal from the on/off switch component 200. The on/off signal is used to select one of two states of the hearing aid. The state of the hearing aid, in an embodiment, is between an audio or electromagnetic field input. In another embodiment, the state of the hearing aid is either an omni-directional input or directional input. In an embodiment, the state of the hearing aid is a filter acting on a signal in the hearing aid or not. In an embodiment, the signal 205 is sent to a level detection circuit 206. Level detection circuit 206 outputs a digital (high or low) signal 207 based on the level of signal 205. In this embodiment, signal 207 is the signal used for switching the state of the hearing aid.
The hearing aid storage system 1401, in an embodiment, includes a magnetic field source 1415 that produces a magnetic field that is significantly greater, e.g., at least 3-4 times as great, as the constant magnetic field and/or the varying magnetic field of a telephone handset. This allows the hearing aid 1405 to include both the automatic switch 40 that alternates inputs based on a magnetic field of a first threshold and the automatic power-off switch 1406 that turns off the hearing aid based on a magnetic field of a higher threshold. Thus, hearing aid 1405 includes automatically switching between inputs, filters, settings, etc. as described herein and automatically powering down to preserve battery power when the hearing aid is in the storage receptacle 1410.
In another embodiment of the present invention, the hearing aid 1405 further includes a rechargeable power supply 1407 and a magnetically actuated switching circuit 1406 as described herein. The rechargeable power supply 1407 includes at least one of a rechargeable battery. In an embodiment, rechargeable power supply 1407 includes a capacitor. In an embodiment, a power induction receiver is connected to the rechargeable power supply 1407 through the switching circuit 1406. The receptacle 1410 includes a power induction transmitter 1417 and magnetic field source 1415. When the hearing aid 1405 is positioned in the receptacle 1410, the magnetic switch 1406 turns on a power induction receiver of the rechargeable power supply 1407. The power induction receiver receives a power signal from the power induction transmitter 1417 to charge the power supply 1407. Thus, whenever the hearing aid 1405 is stored in the receptacle 1410, the hearing aid power supply 1407 is recharged. In an embodiment, the magnetically actuated switch 1406 electrically disconnects the hearing aid circuit from the hearing aid power supply 1407 and activates the power induction receiver to charge the hearing aid power supply. As a result, the hearing aid power supply 1407 is recharged when the hearing aid is not in use by the wearer.
In a further embodiment, the system 1401 includes a cleaning source 1430 connected to the storage receptacle 1410. The cleaning source 1430 supplies sonic or ultrasonic cleaning waves inside the receptacle 1411. The waves are adapted to clean the hearing aid 1405. Accordingly, the hearing aid 1405 is automatically cleaned when placed in the receptacle 1411.
The circuit 1600 has two states. In the first state, which is illustrated, the switch 1605 is open. The node 1604 is at a high voltage. Inverter 1607 outputs a low signal, which is supplied to both the first input 1609 and the second inverter 1611. The first input 1609 is off when it receives a low signal. The second inverter 1611 outputs a high, on signal to the second input 1613. Accordingly, in the open switch state of circuit 1600, the first input 1609 is off and the second input 1613 is on. When in the presence of a magnetic field, switch 1605 closes. Node 1604 is connected to ground and, hence, is at a low potential. Inverter 1607 outputs a high, on signal to the first input 1609 and second inverter 1611. The first input 1609 is on, i.e., powered. The second inverter 1611 outputs a low, off signal to second input 1613. Accordingly, in the closed switch state of circuit 1600, the first input 1609 is on and the second input 1613 is off. In an embodiment, the first hearing aid input 1609 is an induction input and the second hearing aid input 1613 is an audio input. Thus, in the switch open state, the second, audio input 1613 is on or powered and the first, induction input 1609 is off or unpowered. In the switch closed state, the first, induction input 1609 is on or powered and the second, audio input 1613 is off. The circuit 1600 is used as an automatic, induction telephone signal input circuit.
The circuit 1700 has two states. In the first state, which is illustrated, the switch 1705 is open. The node 1704 is grounded by resistor 1703 and is at a low potential. Inverter 1707 outputs a high signal, which is supplied to both the first input 1709 and the second inverter 1711. The first input 1709 is on when it receives a high signal. The second inverter 1711 outputs a low, off signal to the second input 1713. Accordingly, in the open switch state of circuit 1700, the first input 1709 is on and the second input 1713 is off. When in the presence of a magnetic field, switch 1705 closes. Node 1704 is connected to the voltage supply through closed switch 1705 and, hence, is at a high potential. Inverter 1707 outputs a low, off signal to the first input 1709 and second inverter 1711. The first input 1709 is off, i.e., unpowered. The second inverter 1711 outputs a high, on signal to second input 1713. Accordingly, in the closed switch state of circuit 1700, the first input 1709 is off and the second input 1713 is on. In an embodiment, the first hearing aid input 1709 is an audio input and the second hearing aid input 1713 is an induction input. Thus, in the switch open state, the first, audio input 1709 is on or powered and the second, induction input 1713 is off or unpowered. In the switch closed state, the first, audio input 1709 is off and the second, induction input 1713 is on or powered. The circuit 1700 is used as an automatic, induction telephone signal input circuit. Further, circuit 1700 does not continually incur the loss associated with resistor 1703. The default state of the circuit 1700 is with the resistor 1703 grounded and no power drain occurs across resistor 1703. In circuit 1600, there is a continuous power loss associated with resistor 1603. Power conservation and judicious use of the battery power in a hearing aid is a significant design characteristic.
While the above embodiments described in conjunction with
The above embodiments described in conjunction with
It will be appreciated that the selection of parameters for specific inputs can be combined with the
Possible applications of the technology include, but are not limited to, hearing aids. Various types of magnetic field sensors are described herein for use in hearing aids. One type is a mechanical reed switch. Another type is a solid state magnetic responsive sensor. Another type is a MEMS switch. Another type is a GMR sensor. Another type is a core saturation circuit. Another type is anisotropic magneto resistive circuit. Another type is magnetic field effect transistor. It is desirable to incorporate solid state devices into hearing aids as solid state devices typically are smaller, consume less power, produce less heat then discrete components. Further the solid state switching devices can sense and react to a varying magnetic field at a sufficient speed so that the magnetic field is used for supplying programming signals to the hearing aid.
Those skilled in the art will readily recognize how to realize different embodiments using the novel features of the present invention. Several other embodiments, applications and realizations are possible without departing from the present invention. Consequently, the embodiment described herein is not intended in an exclusive or limiting sense, and that scope of the invention is as claimed in the following claims and their equivalents.
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|U.S. Classification||381/331, 381/312, 381/328, 381/327|
|Cooperative Classification||H04R25/43, H04R25/554, H04R2460/03, H04R2225/31, H04R2225/51, H04R2225/61, H04R25/558, H04R25/50|
|European Classification||H04R25/55D, H04R25/55H, H04R25/43|
|Jul 23, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LASALLE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS AGENT, ILLIN
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STARKEY LABORATORIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:014289/0367
Effective date: 20030630
|Oct 3, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: STARKEY LABORATORIES, INC., MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SACHA, MIKE;BREN, MARK A.;PETERSON, TIMOTHY S.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014549/0209;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030814 TO 20030820
|Aug 12, 2008||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Nov 7, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4